When our French friends are enjoying a lot of public holidays during the summertime, we are less fortunate from the other side of the Channel. Actually, there are 11 public holidays each year in France against 8 in England. The welsh’s public holiday calendar is the same as the English one, but it’s slightly different in Ireland and in Scotland.
Public holidays in England
There are 8 public holidays in England, also called “bank holidays”. The expression « bank holiday » was used to describe the days of the banks’ closures and it’s still used now.
There are two public holidays at Christmas: Christmas Day (25th of December) and the Boxing Day (26th December) and one for the New Year’s Day. There are also two religious holidays: Good Friday and Easter Monday. Then, the bank holidays occur in May and in August: May Day Bank Holiday (1st Monday of May), Spring Bank Holiday (last Monday of May) and Summer Bank Holiday (last Monday of August).
When a public holiday occurs on a Sunday, the next Monday is a bank holiday or even on the Tuesday if this Monday is already one.
What happens on a bank holiday?
Most of the companies, schools and administrative services are closed on bank holidays. Some shops are closed or have reduced opening hours. Moreover, public transport are slowed on those days. At Christmas, there are no public transport at all, and almost all shops and tourist attractions are closed so that everyone can enjoy this day.
Here comes May!
May’s banks holidays are the 1st and the last Mondays of May, so these dates change every year. This year, it’s on the 1st of May and the 29th of May, whereas it will be on the 7th and the 28th of May in 2018. With this system, we are assured to always have a three-days-week-end! But after the end of May, we will have to wait until the end of August to have another long weekend.
Additional one-off bank holidays
Sometimes, there are additional one-off bank holidays in England and these days are mostly related to royal events. For instance, the 5th of June 2012 was a bank holiday due to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee (60th anniversary of her accession). Friday the 29th of April 2011 was also a bank holiday for William and Kate’s wedding.
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